Public invited to community conversations on early learning

The Delaware Department of Education’s Office of Early Learning invites early learning providers and program representatives, families, and other community members to join community conversations about early learning across the state.

The sessions, planned for evenings this spring in all three counties, will cover topics such as childcare licensing, Purchase of Care and Delaware Stars, the state’s quality rating system for early childcare.

“We want to hear from people who are doing this important work day in and day out to educate and support children and families,” said Kimberly Krzanowski, executive director of the Office of Early Learning. “These conversations are an opportunity for us to learn about how current efforts are supporting programs and opportunities to engage in how we could do things differently.”

Each session will include:

• Belvie Herbert, social services administrator, Purchase of Care, Department of Health and Social Services
• Dr. Kimberly Krzanowski, executive director, Office of Early Learning, Delaware Department of Education
• Kristy Sheffler, director, Delaware Institute for Excellence in Early Childhood, Delaware Stars
• Betty Gail Timm, administrator, Office of Child Care Licensing

The meetings will be held in four locations throughout the state:

6 to 8 p.m., Tuesday, April 17
Carvel State Office Building
820 North French Street
Wilmington, DE 19801

6 to 8 p.m., Tuesday, May 8
Delaware State Police Troop 3
3759 South State Street
Camden, DE 19934

6 to 8 p.m., Wednesday, May 9
Georgetown Public Library
123 West Pine Street
Georgetown, DE 19947

6 to 8 p.m., Tuesday, May 22
Delaware State Police Troop 2
100 Lagrange Avenue
Newark, DE 19702

Registration is not required.


Media Contact: Alison May (302) 735-4006

Governor Carney, Secretary Bunting Announce Establishment of Teachers Advisory Council

Council will gather feedback from educators statewide, increase the voice of teachers in policy decisions

DOVER, Del. – Governor John Carney and Dr. Susan Bunting, Secretary of the Delaware Department of Education, announced on Tuesday the establishment of a new Teachers Advisory Council to gather the feedback of educators from across the state.

Secretary Bunting invited two teachers from each of the state’s 19 school districts and six charter school educators to join the group, which will facilitate communication, contribute to solutions, and help increase the voice of teachers in policy decisions. The group will meet bi-monthly to discuss a variety of issues affecting teachers.

“Educators work on the front lines helping prepare Delaware’s children for the future,” said Governor Carney. “We are committed to transforming the Department into a true support agency to help schools and educators better serve their students. This new advisory council will help ensure that we are listening to educators every step of the way as we make policy decisions that affect the classroom. Thank you to the educators who are participating, and Dr. Bunting and our team at the Department of Education for convening this group.”

“This is an opportunity for me to hear directly from those who work closest with our children and often feel the most direct effects of our policy decisions,” said Secretary Bunting.

Teachers participating on the new advisory council were recommended by their superintendents or the Delaware Charter School Network for the voluntary role. Secretary Bunting has asked each to share his or her personal feelings as an individual rather than serve as a representative of a district or charter school’s position on an issue.

This group is in addition to the Teacher of the Year Advisory Council, which Secretary Bunting also meets with bi-monthly.


Educators participating in the new advisory council include:
  • Kristyn Bradford of Lake Forest North Elementary in Lake Forest School District
  • Seth Buford of Milford High School in Milford School District
    Shorel Clark of Brittingham Elementary School in Cape Henlopen School District
  • Marisa Clarke of Central Elementary in Seaford School District
  • Guy Cooper of Providence Creek Academy charter school
  • Luke Crossan of Waters Middle School in Appoquinimink School District
  • Todd Cushman of Delmar Middle School in Delmar School District
  • Chelsea Darczuk of East Side Charter School
  • Robert Edmondson of Seaford Middle School in Seaford School District
  • Catherine (Katy) Evans of Sunnyside Elementary School in the Smyrna School District
  • Christina Gallo of Lake Forest High School in Lake Forest School District
  • Shelby Gordon of Bunker Hill Elementary School in Appoquinimink School District
  • Emily Green of Caesar Rodney High School in Caesar Rodney School District
  • Robert Harrod of Cape Henlopen High School in Cape Henlopen School District
  • Matt Hoopes of Concord High School in Brandywine School District
  • Shelley Hovanec of Woodbridge Early Childhood Education Center in Woodbridge School District
  • Michelle Howard of Delmar High School in Delmar School District
  • Lesley Louder of Dover High School in Capital School District
  • Tina Lykens of POLYTECH High School in POLYTECH School District
  • Jennifer MacDonald of Smyrna High School in Smyrna School District
  • Nathalie Melvin of South Dover Elementary School in Capital School District
  • Phyllis Mobley of Harlan Elementary School in Brandywine School District
  • Elaine Norris of Mispillion Elementary School in Milford School District
  • Petra Palmer of Delcastle High School in New Castle County Vo-Tech School District
  • Michael Paoli of Hodgson High School in New Castle County Vo-Tech School District
  • Sarah Polaski of Christiana Middle School Academy in Christina School District
  • Moraima Reardon of Woodbridge High School in Woodbridge School District
  • Lisa Richardson of Millsboro Middle School in Indian River School District
  • Matthew Sabol of William Penn High School in Colonial School District
  • Dara Savage of Early College High School charter school
  • Cameron Sweeney of POLYTECH High School in POLYTECH School District
  • Crystal Thawley of Sussex Technical High School in Sussex Technical School District
  • Elizabeth Van Aulen of Wilson Elementary School in Christina School District
  • Anthony Varrato of Sussex Technical High School of Sussex Technical School District
  • Kim Weber of Welch Elementary in Caesar Rodney School District
  • Leigh Weldin of Conrad School of Sciences in Red Clay Consolidated School District
  • Karen Willey of Sussex Academy charter school
  • Jill Young of Lord Baltimore Elementary in Indian River School District
  • Stacie Zdrojewski of Red Clay Consolidated School District Office

The Teacher Advisory Council will meet on Tuesday, March 27th from 4:30 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. at the Collette Education Resource Center Conference Room, 35 Commerce Way, Suite 1, Dover.

Related news:

Legislation Offers Student Loan Relief for Educators in High-Needs Areas

Legislation Offers Student Loan Relief for Educators in High-Needs Areas

Educators in high-needs schools and subject areas could get student loan relief under bill from Representative Bentz, Senator Townsend

DOVER, Del. – Governor John Carney, Representative David Bentz, and Senator Bryan Townsend on Tuesday announced new legislation to offer student loan relief to Delaware educators in high-needs schools and subject areas.

The legislation would help the State of Delaware recruit and retain teachers in schools with high concentrations of low-income students, students with disabilities, and English language learners. Educators teaching in high-needs subject areas – such as STEM-related fields, special education, and world languages – could also become eligible for student loan repayments.

“We’re focused on helping make sure all Delaware children have access to a high-quality education,” said Governor Carney. “That starts with supporting educators who are in the front of the classroom, preparing our students for the future. This legislation would help us recruit and retain educators serving many of our most vulnerable students. Thank you to Representative Bentz, Senator Townsend, and the Delaware State Education Association for their partnership on this issue.”

The legislation would provide up to $2,000 of student loan assistance annually to educators who qualify. Educators may qualify for up to five years of assistance.

“Dedicated teachers who serve some of our highest-need schools and students deserve recognition for their commitment to future generations,” said Representative Bentz, prime sponsor of the legislation. “They are helping students succeed by providing extra assistance and working closely with them. Forgiving some of their loan debt is a small way of showing our commitment to those teachers and the students they educate. By doing this, we will hopefully encourage them to continue their hard work with their students.”

“Teaching is a public service, a professional challenge, and oftentimes a financial sacrifice,” said Senator Townsend. “Teachers are the most important investment we can make in the classroom, and the ones who want to work in our highest-need schools shouldn’t have to choose between helping kids tap into their potential and paying their student loans. We owe a lot more to our teachers, but helping them with the albatross of student loan debt is a good start.”

The legislation builds on Governor Carney’s commitment to provide additional resources and support for students and educators in high-needs schools. The Governor’s Fiscal Year 2019 budget proposal would provide $6 million in targeted Opportunity Grant funding for schools serving significant populations of low-income students or English language learners. Governor Carney’s budget also includes a 2 percent pay raise for educators, to help recruit and retain educators statewide. The student loan relief legislation will be introduced this week in the Delaware House of Representatives.

“Our highest need schools, in which our students can most benefit from consistency and teacher experience, struggle to attract and retain educators,” said Dr. Susan Bunting, Secretary of the Delaware Department of Education. “This is an important way for us to support those dedicated to working where we need them the most.”

“I love what I do. Being a teacher is the most rewarding job I have ever had. I want to remain an educator, but the amount of student loan debt I have incurred may force me to get a job that pays enough to cover my living expenses and my student loan debt” said Von Morgan, Jr., a teacher at Richardson Park Elementary School in Wilmington. “This bill, if passed, will help keep teachers like me in the classroom where we were meant to be. And it will help us to continue to educate ourselves to meet the ever-growing needs of our students.”

“This bill will help educators of all ages who have student debt and work in our high-needs subject areas and schools,” said Mike Matthews, President of the Delaware State Education Association. “It’s another great way to incentivize this work while helping to attract and retain quality educators in Delaware.”


Delaware high school graduation rate up

Delaware’s high school graduation rate hit a record high in 2017. The state’s dropout rate also slightly increased.

annual Delaware Department of Education reports, which will be presented to the State Board of Education tonight, show an overall graduation rate of 85.75 percent in 2017. The graduation rate for several student subgroups – African American, Asian, Hispanic, low-income, multiracial, white and students with disabilities – also are up from 2016. The rates for two other subgroups – American Indian and English learner – declined.

Meanwhile the dropout rate saw a slight increase – 700 of the 40,884 students enrolled in grades 9-12 dropped out for a rate of 1.7 percent, slightly up from the 2016 rate of 1.4 percent.

Across our state, teachers, counselors, school leaders and community partners are collaborating with families to support their students, particularly those who are at risk for leaving school or falling behind on credit accrual. Their collective work is the reason more of our students are graduating,” Secretary of Education Susan Bunting said. “Still none of us is satisfied. We will continue to increase graduation rates and decrease the dropout rate because behind these numbers are real students who need diplomas to be ready to succeed in postsecondary education and/or careers.”


Graduation rate

with a regular high school diploma within four years.

While the annual dropout rate provides information about one particular school year and all students enrolled in high school in that year, the graduation rate provides information about a particular group of students followed over the course of high school. It looks at all students who started high school at the 9th grade and how many graduated within four years. For this year’s data, that means students who started 9th grade in the 2013/14 school year.

This year’s rate is the highest since the state changed how it calculates graduation rates in 2010-11.

Last year, out of 10,203 students in the Class of 2017, 8,749 students graduated with a regular diploma, a rate of 85.75 percent. The state also looks at five- and six-year graduation rates. The graduation rate for the Class of 2015 was 84.4 percent at the end of four years, 85.6 percent at the end of five years and 85.7 percent at the end of six years.

Four-year graduation rate trend data, including subgroup and district/school information, is shown below.


Four-Year Graduation Rates by District/Charter
Class of 2015, 2016 and 2017






















































Dropout rate

The annual dropout rate is calculated from grades 9 to 12, as prescribed by the National Center for Educational Statistics (NCES), which provides data to the federal reporting system. The rate represents the total number of students (grades 9-12) who dropped out in a single year, divided by the total enrollment of the same school year. Data also is collected from private schools and families who homeschool their children. That information is only used to verify whether students transferred from public to private and home schools.

The annual report also looks at dropouts by student demographic. Statewide in the 2016-2017 school year, of the 700 who dropped out, 281 were African American, 258 were white/other and 161 were Hispanic.  Looking at the total student enrollment by demographics for 2016-17, 2.7 percent of Hispanic, 2.2 percent of black and 1.2 percent of white/other students dropped out.

The majority of the 700 dropouts were male (418). The largest number were enrolled in the 10th grade (246). Students cited academic, personal and economic reasons for why they left school.

The state report provides analysis based on demographics and geographic breakdowns, including by county and districts/charter schools. For 2016-17, Kent had the lowest percentage of dropouts (1.5 percent). New Castle’s rate was 1.6 percent while Sussex’s rate was 2.2 percent.


































































The report also looks at those students who live in the 19801 and 19802 zip codes of Wilmington. Of the 700 dropouts, 77 lived in those zip codes.


Media Contact: Alison May,, 302-735-4006





New ELA course helps students enter credit-bearing college courses

Students who fare well in a new high school English course are guaranteed to enter credit-bearing English classes at Delaware colleges and universities.

The Foundations of College English course was developed through funding from Strada Education Network in partnership with the Delaware Department of Education and Delaware institutions of higher education (see below) to reduce college remediation rates. This course was designed to complement the Foundations of College Math course which was developed and launched in 2014.

Of all Delaware public high school graduates who enter an in-state college or university, 41 percent require remedial education courses in mathematics or English, according to the state’s 2017 College Success Report. About 24 percent require remedial coursework in English. Students who do not score well on college placement tests may be forced to take remedial English courses prior to enrolling in credit bearing coursework. These non-credit, remedial courses often cost the same as credit-bearing classes but don’t count toward a student’s degree.

The Foundations of College English was piloted in fall 2016 across six high schools as part of the state-model Allied Health career & technical education program of study. Schools identify students for the foundations course based on their PSAT and SAT scores. And the Foundations of College English course was then offered to students as an elective course to ensure all students are able to pursue continuing education without the need for remediation.

Participating pilot schools include: Appoquinimink School District’s Appoquinimink and Middletown High Schools; Indian River School District’s Indian River and Sussex Central High Schools; Milford School District’s Milford High School; and Smyrna School District’s Smyrna High School. Any public high school can offer the class next year.

“Students graduate high school ready to start their college careers. Being forced to take non-credit courses delays their start to earn a degree while adding to their college debts,” Governor John Carney said. “This collaboration between our public schools and Delaware’s colleges and universities aims to help our youth complete postsecondary education on time and with less debt so they can begin their careers in Delaware’s workforce.”

Carney joined Secretary of Education Susan Bunting today at Milford High School, one of the pilot sites. They talked to educators and students about their experiences in the course.

“Earning a college degree is challenging enough without the extra barriers created by remedial coursework. We must prepare our graduates for the rigor of college coursework,” Bunting said. “Offering the Foundations of College English is another way to support our students to ensure they not only enter college but also leave with valuable degrees.”

A U.S. Department of Education study found that less than half of students in remedial courses actually complete them, and only 17 percent of remedial reading students and 27 percent of remedial math students completing their bachelor’s degrees.

“Too many students today begin postsecondary education and never finish. We must find new ways to help students overcome obstacles, such as time spent in remedial courses, so they gain the necessary credentials to compete and succeed in a modern, global workforce,” said Bill Hansen, president and CEO of Strada and former U.S. Deputy Secretary of Education. “I’m encouraged to see the State of Delaware scale this innovative approach to ensure students have the skills and knowledge needed to succeed in work and in life.”

The Foundations of College English course was designed by Delaware Technical Community College. A series of online modules also were created to supplement the course and/or to be embedded in other English language arts coursework for junior or senior high school students.

Students who earn a 75 percent or better in the Foundations of College English course are guaranteed entry into credit-bearing English language arts coursework at Goldey Beacom College, Delaware State University, Delaware Technical Community College, University of Delaware, Wesley College and Wilmington University.


Media contact: Alison May,, 302-735-4006